Rodriguez indicates he is leaning towards staying with Katusha
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Monday, February 11, 2013

Rodriguez indicates he is leaning towards staying with Katusha

by VeloNation Press at 7:34 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
Hints the team could get a Tour wildcard if WorldTour battle is unsuccessful

Joaquim RodriguezPreviously said to be looking for a way to move to another team, the 2012 world number one Joaquim Rodriguez now sounds likely to remain with the Katusha squad this season despite the uncertainty relating to the UCI WorldTour.

The Russian squad was turned down in its request for WorldTour registration on December 10th, a decision by the UCI Licence Commission which the team said was totally unexpected. Since then it has been trying to get the decision reversed, and last week had a hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport which it hopes will bear fruit.

Rodriguez had previously been said to be determined to leave the team if that CAS action was unsuccessful, saying that riding the Tour de France this year was absolutely vital.

Now, with the CAS decision due soon, he shows more patience about the situation. “To change now would be a risk. Better with what you know,” he told Marca, in speaking about his likely plans. “The truth is that being a Pro Tour team at all costs is not the most important thing, what I want is to be able to make my calendar.” However he suggest there is reason for optimism. “We are told that there is hope that we can be reinstated.”

The Catalan rider wants to target the Ardennes Classics and also the Tour de France and the Vuelta. He should be assured of an invite to the latter, particularly after riding so strongly there in 2012, but needs to see what ASO will decide in relation to wildcards for its other events.

However he said that the latter has given ‘a calming message’ to the team, which hints that Katusha could be given the invites it requires.

Rodriguez won the UCI WorldTour in 2012 and helped Katusha to second place in the team standings. He’s one of the best Classics riders of his generation and has been chased by many squads since it became clear that his team was in a difficult position.

“These things can only happen in cycling,” he said with resignation. “I’ve received calls to switch teams, but from the beginning I said that I didn’t want anything to do with deals until the matter was resolved.”


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